Business groups seek long-term strategy for growth

Corporate June 28, 2014 00:00

By Somluck Srimalee
The Nation

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BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS yesterday called on the National Council for Peace and Order to draw up a national economic road map to support the country's long-term sustainable growth.

“The NCPO has been announcing immediate measures to solve the country’s economic problems, but we need to see a long-term plan,” said Issara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. 
“Next year the Asean Economic Community will be in place, so it is important to know how Thailand intends to place itself economically within the region.” 
He was speaking at a seminar titled “Thailand’s New Economic Context for Sustainable Growth”, held yesterday by the Saha Group and Nation Multimedia.
Suphan Mongkholsuthee, president of the Federation of Thai Industries, added that the private sector already had proposals for the country’s economic road map to put to the NCPO when required. 
Measures to combat and reduce corruption will be an integral factor in improving Thailand’s economy in the long term, Thai Bankers’ Association chairman Boontuck Wungcharoen added.
A key component of the road map will be an effort to switch from a labour-intensive economy to a knowledge-based one, said Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, an economic adviser to the NCPO.
Somkid said he believed that this process could be done in four steps. 
The first is to support private-sector growth and invest in education and innovative education. 
This would help create a more forward-thinking and innovative workforce. 
The next step is to encourage the private sector to invest in innovative products rather than low-cost yield. 
The third step is to develop Thailand’s trade links to cope with increased competition from other markets.
It has to change the trade system to meet the demands of the digital age.
The last step is for the country to focus on improving corporate governance and transparency. 
These measures, Somkid said, would boost the economy and make it more sustainable. 
He added that it was in the interests of the NCPO to ensure that long-term measures to drive sustainable growth were in place and that it was ready to work with the private sector to implement these tools. 
In the short term, Somkid predicted that gross domestic product would grow by at least 2 per cent until a new government was in place this year. 
Groups including the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, and the Thai Bankers’ Association also believe GDP will grow by at least 2 per cent this year. 
However, Nopporn Thepsittha, president of the Thai National Shippers’ Council, put his forecast at less than that.

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